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Age of Wolves – Age of Wolves

Age of Wolves
Age of Wolves
by Mark Machlay at 01 March 2022, 6:34 AM

Built on a bedrock of old school hard rock and heavy metal veterans, Ontario, Canada-based AGE OF WOLVES spent their pandemic time crafting their first full-length self-titled album, released on December 10, 2021, through Pitch Black Records. In various bands for many years, it wasn’t until October 2019 that the four members of the group decided to join forces on a project that they finally realized was destiny. Guitarist Al Yeti Bones has been active for 25 years with bands such as THE MIGHTY NIMBUS, GEORGIAN SKULL, and MR BONES just to name a few. Vocalist Michael Edwards comes from the band LODOWN – a favorite of Al’s – and after already forming a rhythm section foundation in Dwayne LaFramboise on drums and Ray Solomon on bass, they group asked the vocalist to join. “Mike had always wanted to play in a band with me and I had always wanted to play in band with him. So, it was a very reciprocal relationship!” Al admits.

Now they have a band, but it took them some time to decide on the name AGE OF WOLVES. “We were going back and forth with a million different names!” Al states. “We would spend hours in our message thread trying to come up with something. At that time, we were meeting up once or twice a week before we got stricter with ourselves. So, we would go into the rehearsal space and say, ‘Who do we want to be today?’” It seems to fit given the band is emerging amid 2 years dealing with a global pandemic. But they used the last couple years of on and off lockdowns to their advantage, making for an incredibly creative period for the band. Al mentioned further, “When the pandemic hit, we just went to our cave and kept writing and recording. Then, when we were finally able to get into a studio, we were able to put our album together relatively quickly. We were so new, so fresh and so hungry, that we just kept at it.” They were finally able to release their debut album recently but also had the forethought to capture this formative time for the band when Al conscripted his friend Syx Alngermann to film a documentary during this period titled Lockdown 20/21 available now through Amazon Prime.

From the outset, AGE OF WOLVES wears their influences on their sleaves and it ends up being both a help and a hindrance for someone who grew up with the likes of BLACK SABBATH and CORROSION OF CONFORMITY. While the opener, “Lil’ Burner” is bit more in the former category – with rollicking doomy riffs that hit like mac trucks – you’ll get the best of both worlds with the second track “Avernus” with the yelling yet snarling delivery of Michael Edwards vocals and leaning more towards a stoner hard rock vibe. “Temple Bar” adds much more melody and harmony to an already intriguing package with a harmonized main riff that drives home a sobering tale of love and loss of the named Sarah with multiple parts and a fuzzed out, plaintive solo section. Then you’ve got the funky and fuzzed out jam session that is “Overlord” sounding much like a MONSTER MAGNET tune turned up to eleven. But as we get to the maniacal “We Rise” I feel that the influences have taken over and at times just want to go back and listen to some old SABBATH. They end with an unfortunately long epic “Endless Tides” which should have been trimmed by about 2-3 minutes. I have to give the band credit, many of the riffs and licks were interesting and inventive but as the album played on, they got a little long in the tooth and I didn’t see a lot of replay value, even in the succinct runtime of an only 40 something minute album.

Songwriting: 5
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 5
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Lil Burner
2. Avernus
3. Grease Monkey & The Monkey Wrench
4. Temple Bar
5. Overlord
6. We Rise
7. My Love Ends All
8. Endless Tides
Lineup:
Ray Solomon – Bass
Dwayne LaFramboise – Drums
Al Yeti Bones – Guitar
Michael Edwards – Vocals
Record Label: Pitch Black Records
     


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